- Start: Grid Ref 477072
- End: Grid Ref 477072
- Country: England
- County: Shropshire
- Type: Country
- Nearest pub:
- Ordnance Survey: Landranger 126 Shrewsbury and Oswestry; and Explorer 241 Shrewsbury
- Difficulty: Medium
Another year of Shropshire's history passes and Roy Woodcock takes us on a walk through a land with 600million years of tales to tell.
Lyth Hill Country Park
Set in glorious countryside this walk begins from the heights of Lyth Hill, drops down to the surrounding countryside, then circles round and climbs gently back up to the hill top
Starting point: At Grid Ref 477072
Found on: Landranger 126 Shrewsbury and Oswestry; and Explorer 241 Shrewsbury
How to get there: Just south of the Shrewsbury ring road along the A49 is the village of Bayston Hill, from where a sign points to Lyth Hill Country Park to the right. If approaching from the south, a mile before reaching Bayston is a small turn to the left signed to Little Lyth and Lyth Hill which takes us through the delightful hamlet of Little Lyth and up steeply to the car park
Distance: 4.5 miles; time required - 2-2 hours
Terrain: the route follows clear paths but parts may be muddy. One steep descent but otherwise only gentle undulations
Nearest Visitor Information Centre: In Shrewsbury, tel: 01743 281200
Other places of interest nearby include: Church Stretton, Acton Burnell, Pontesbury
The village of Bayston Hill is almost a suburb of Shrewsbury and to the east across the A49 is Sharpstone Hill with its huge quarry, one of the largest in Shropshire. Hard sandstones and greywacke are extracted for use as roadstone, being hard wearing and also creating a non skid surface. To the south of Bayston is Lyth Hill.
Lyth Hill Country Park includes the steep south facing slopes as well as the grassy hill top. Ancient rocks, mostly sandstones and some conglomerates, are very hard and resistant to weathering - hence the steep slope. The rocks are part of the Wentnor group from the pre-Cambrian period over 600 million years ago (as are the rocks of Haughmond Hill to the east of Shrewsbury).
1. From the car park enjoy the wonderful views to the Wrekin and Ironbridge before beginning the walk. Either follow the track or walk along the grass. The broad and fairly flat grassy area is popular with dog walkers as well as families looking for space to play or picnic. The steep slope down to the left, is covered by gorse, bracken and scrub, and provides a wonderful haunt for wild life. Caer Caradoc and Lawley dominate the view ahead over to the left. Pass to the left of the mast and climb slightly to the highest point (over 550 ft -169m.), where there is more parking space, as well as small rocky outcrops which show the conglomerate, with small pebbles set in the mass of fine grained rock. Here are situated a few houses with stunning views. The track goes on, but a narrow road forks away to the right. Stay on the track or the grass. Quite a few houses are to our right, including Windmill House adjacent to the former base of the windmill, which dates from 1835 and has been important for corn grinding and the preparation of flax. The local rope walk is a reminder of the days when ropes were made here, for use in lead and coal mining nearby. The slope to the left descends steeply to a small pond and the buildings of Westley. The path on the grass merges with the track to the right, and we continue along the track, between two cottages. A path leads off to the right, but keep straight ahead via a small wooden gate (with tall handle for horse riders to use) by the large metal gate - following the Shropshire Way.
2. Go through on to open grassland, though young trees have been planted just to the left. Soon begin to descend, with the rocky path becoming quite steep. The woodland called Spring Coppice is to the right, and near the bottom of the slope we turn right off the Shropshire Way, passing to the right of the modernised Spring Cottage. The original house was built in 1917 for Mary Webb, who wrote several novels whilst living here. Both before this house and again afterwards you may see deer in the fields, as this is the land of Exfords Green Venison Farm. Walk along a broad track, climbing slightly and bending to the right. This lumpy and stony track leads us through to a few houses on our left, and then the narrow road, where we turn left to pass through Lythbank. Go downhill and when the road divides we fork right for about 20 yards to the public footpath sign, where we turn right along a narrow footpath between houses and gardens.
3. Go over two stiles and then emerge in an open field, with a hedge on our right. Good views open up across the gentle landscape to our left, but with hills in the distance, notably Earl's Hill and Pontesford. We are walking through glorious countryside, where the hedges and fields support abundant bird life, including yellowhammers and skylarks. Pass through the remnant of a hedge and along a second field to a hedge and twin-stiled footbridge. Keep straight ahead alongside another field and through a gate and still straight ahead. Go on over a fragile stile, across a rough field to a wooden footbridge and keep ahead. Pass to the left side of Lythwood Farm and the houses beyond. Cross an old wooden footbridge and along a grassy field, passing unused stiles and then reach one we have to go over. On the left is a patch of allotments but here we turn right a few yards to reach a narrow road.
4. Turn right along this road, following the Shropshire Way sign, to walk towards Lythwood Farm. Pass straight through the farmyard and once beyond the buildings the track divides and we fork left, through a gate. Continue along the track across open fields, and our route bends gradually to the left, still following Shropshire Way. The track deteriorates slightly and bends further to the left, still across open fields. At a gate where the track bends to the right, keep straight ahead across the next field heading towards a small mound at the far side of the field. This is a covered reservoir. Reach a stile and a narrow path to lead us through to the road - with good views across to Wrekin. Turn right here, passing alongside the covered reservoir to return to our starting point.